2009 Annual BLR Storytelling Festival

It’s Storytelling Time . . . !

We are excited about this year’s annual Intergenerational Storytelling Festival to be held Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Wilson Foundation Academy (the old Madison Middle school) from 6pm-8pm.

Our featured guest presenters this year is the dynamic “Daughters of Creative Sound” from Buffalo, NY. A crowd pleaser, the “Daughters…” are drummers, storytellers, dancers, and more…and are sure to leave you with a smile on your face and some knowledge on your mind.

We will also have the winners of the Rochester City School District’s annual storytelling festival sharing the stories that won them their grade level. Youth from grades 3 through 8 compete each year at the RCSD Festival and we are pleased to offer these young people another opportunity to share their stories.

New this year to our Festival is a collaboration with the Rochester Boys and Girls Club’s after-school program attendees. Members of the Blackstorytelling League will mentor these youths (ages 8 to 11), teaching them storytelling techniques, history, and vocabulary and then the youth will perform an ensemble piece entitled, “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears” at our Festival.

We will also honor the legacy of James and Bessie Hamm (community activists) and present the 1st Annual James and Bessie Hamm Civic Award to a deserving Rochester area resident.

Finally, our members will share a story or two with you!

This event is free and open to the public. We look forward to your participation. Pass it on!

2009 BLR Festival Flyer

2009 BLR program

Ms. Jill Fortune reviews our 2009 Storytelling Festival

Did you hear? The Black Storytelling League of Rochester, NY was a dynamic force during the celebration of their extravagant 13th Annual Intergenerational Storytelling Festival.

It was a gala event which invited the public to come out and enjoy an evening of storytelling and fun. The members of the League were adorned in their beautiful and colorful authentic African garb which delighted the guests. There was a strong level of anticipation, early on.

At the point of entering the auditorium, the guests, greeted by League members, were astonished by the beautiful array of members’ African fashions. Marching in from the rear of the auditorium, the members paraded in full regalia while chanting their trademark song, “Bring Down the Stories” and shaking their authentic African instruments. The League showcased tellers from the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Rochester.

League members developed a curriculum for children from ages 10-12 years old who demonstrated an interest in storytelling. The curriculum included the importance of storytelling, our African heritage, various types of stories and African terminology. Members met with the children bi-weekly during the month of October and all of the hard work really paid off. The children were easily engaged and enthusiastic about storytelling. They learned also about theatrical performance, voice projection and staging. As a group ensemble, they performed “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.” Their laughter and frivolity were infectious.

Another group of youth tellers was the Rochester City School District’s grade school award winners. They gave marvelous performances, demonstrating their talent for storytelling. Two of the League members entertained the audience with their signature stories, upholding the tradition of black storytelling.

One of the highlights of the Festival was the presentation of our first James and Bessie Hamm Civic Award. Bessie and James Hamm were community activists who encouraged student academic proficiency and established the Ralph Bunche Scholarship for college bound students. We chose to honor an individual who demonstrated the principles expressed by Bessie and James Hamm. Our choice was well made in the recipient, Mr. Rodney Young, who was also a former storyteller member of the League. Mr. Young continues to carry on the tradition of community involvement, leadership and proficiency.

The Daughters of Creative Sound thrilled the audience with their electrifying drumming and beautiful stories. There was a cadence in their voices that drew the listener to exhilaration. It was a wonderful, exciting evening which held to the storytelling tradition of, “Pass it On.”

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